Showing posts with label Middle East. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Middle East. Show all posts

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Full text of Xi Jinping's keynote speech at China-Arab States Summit

    Sunday, December 11, 2022   No comments

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech here Friday at the first China-Arab States Summit. The following is the full text of the speech:

_________

Carrying Forward the Spirit of China-Arab Friendship and Jointly Building a China-Arab Community with a Shared Future in the New Era

Riyadh, 9 December 2022

Distinguished Colleagues,

Friends,

Good afternoon!

At the outset, I wish to thank Saudi Arabia for the warm hospitality and thoughtful arrangement. I am very pleased to join you for the first China-Arab States Summit. The Summit is a milestone in the history of China-Arab relations, and will take us to a more promising future of friendship and cooperation.

China and Arab states enjoy a long history of friendly exchanges. We have come to know and befriend each other through the ancient Silk Road. We have shared weal and woe in our respective struggles for national liberation. We have conducted win-win cooperation in the tide of economic globalization. And we have upheld fairness and justice in the changing international environment. Together, China and Arab states have nurtured the spirit of friendship featuring "solidarity and mutual assistance, equality and mutual benefit, and inclusiveness and mutual learning."


Solidarity and mutual assistance is a distinct feature of China-Arab friendship. We trust each other, and have forged a brotherly friendship. We firmly support each other on issues involving our respective core interests. We work hand in hand and make progress together to realize the dream of national rejuvenation. We brave wind and storms together in fighting the COVID pandemic. The China-Arab future-oriented strategic partnership of comprehensive cooperation and common development is unbreakable.


Equality and mutual benefit is a constant driver for our friendship. China and Arab states have set an example for South-South cooperation in pursuing mutually beneficial collaboration. The two sides have established 17 cooperation mechanisms under the framework of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum. Over the past decade, our trade has grown by 100 billion U.S. dollars, with the total volume exceeding 300 billion dollars; China's direct investment in Arab states was up by 2.6 times, with the stock of investment reaching 23 billion dollars; over 200 Belt and Road projects have been carried out, benefiting nearly two billion people of the two sides.


Inclusiveness and mutual learning is a key value inherent in our friendship. We appreciate each other's civilizations, and have written a splendid history of mutual learning. We keep drawing wisdom from each other's time-honored civilizations, and jointly promote "peace, harmony, integrity, and truth", the very essence of civilization. We stay true to our principles despite the clamour for "clash of civilizations", advocate together inter-civilizational dialogue, oppose discrimination against particular civilizations, and endeavor to safeguard the diversity of world civilizations.


Colleagues,


Friends,


The world today is in a new period of turbulence and transformation. The Middle East is undergoing new and profound changes. The aspiration of the Arab people for peace and development is much more compelling, and their call for equity and justice is stronger than ever. As strategic partners, China and Arab states should carry forward the spirit of China-Arab friendship, strengthen solidarity and cooperation, and foster a closer China-Arab community with a shared future, so as to deliver greater benefits to our peoples and advance the cause of human progress.


- We should stay independent and defend our common interests. China supports Arab states in independently exploring development paths suited to their national conditions and holding their future firmly in their own hands. China is ready to deepen strategic mutual trust with Arab states, and firmly support each other in safeguarding sovereignty, territorial integrity and national dignity. Our two sides should jointly uphold the principle of non-interference in other countries' internal affairs, practice true multilateralism, and defend the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries.


- We should focus on economic development and promote win-win cooperation. We should strengthen synergy between our development strategies, and promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. We should consolidate cooperation in traditional areas including economy and trade, energy and infrastructure development. In the meantime, we should strengthen new sources of growth such as green and low-carbon development, health and medical services, and investment and finance, and expand new frontiers including aviation and aerospace, digital economy and peaceful use of nuclear energy. We should also tackle major challenges like food security and energy security. China will work with the Arab side to implement the Global Development Initiative (GDI) and drive sustainable development of South-South cooperation.


- We should uphold regional peace and strive for common security. China supports the Arab side in promoting political settlement of hotspot and challenging issues with Arab wisdom, and build a common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security architecture in the Middle East. China urges the international community to respect the role of the Middle East people as masters of their own affairs, and add positive energy to the security and stability of the region. China welcomes the Arab side to participate in the Global Security Initiative (GSI), and will continue to contribute Chinese wisdom to promoting peace and tranquility in the Middle East.


- We should increase exchanges among civilizations to enhance mutual understanding and trust. We need to increase personnel exchange, deepen people-to-people cooperation, and promote the exchange of governance experience. We need to jointly oppose Islamophobia, carry out cooperation on deradicalization, and reject association of terrorism with any particular ethnic group or religion. We need to advocate humanity's common values of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, and set an example of inter-civilizational exchanges and mutual learning in the new era.


We are pleased to see the decision by the Summit to build a China-Arab community with a shared future in the new era and to formulate the Outline of the Comprehensive Cooperation Plan Between China and Arab States, laying out the blueprint for future China-Arab relations. As the first follow-up step of that decision, China will, in the next three to five years, work with the Arab side to advance eight major cooperation initiatives in areas including development support, food security, public health, green innovation, energy security, inter-civilizational dialogue, youth development, and security and stability. China has briefed the Arab side on the details of the eight initiatives, and will work with the Arab side to promote their early implementation and strive for early harvest.


Colleagues,


Friends,


The Palestinian issue bears on peace and stability in the Middle East. The historical injustices done to the Palestinian people should not be left unattended indefinitely. The legitimate rights and interests of a nation are not up for trade, and the demand to establish an independent state shall not be denied. The international community should stay firm in its commitment to the two-state solution and the principle of "land for peace", make resolute efforts to promote peace talks, provide more humanitarian and development assistance to Palestine, and strive for a just settlement of the Palestinian issue at an early date. Recently, through the efforts of Arab states, important progress has been made in Intra-Palestinian reconciliation. China welcomes these developments. I would like to reiterate that China firmly supports the establishment of an independent State of Palestine that enjoys full sovereignty based on the 1967 border and with East Jerusalem as its capital. China supports Palestine in becoming a full member of the United Nations, and will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Palestine, support livelihood projects in the country, and increase donations to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).


Colleagues,


Friends,


Recently, the Communist Party of China successfully convened its 20th National Congress. The Congress laid out the tasks and path of advancing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through Chinese modernization, and provided a blueprint for China's future development. China will stay committed to upholding world peace, promoting common development, and building a community with a shared future for mankind. China remains firm in pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace and upholding international fairness and justice. China is committed to promoting friendship and cooperation with other countries based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and will work to deepen and expand global partnerships. Acting on a mutually beneficial strategy of opening up, China will continue to promote high-standard opening up and advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. By doing so, we wish to create new opportunities for Arab states and all other countries with China's new development.


Colleagues,


Friends,


A great cause begins with a dream and turns into reality through hard work. Let us carry forward the spirit of China-Arab friendship, jointly build a China-Arab community with a shared future in the new era, and usher in an even brighter future for our relations.


Thank you!  


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Translation provided by Xinhua

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In related news; the Chinese president signed the GCC statement which included a reference to Iranina islands UAE wants to annex. Iranian foreign minister issued immediately a statement saying "in all frankness and transparency, Iran will not flatter anyone regarding its territorial integrity." His office then summoned the Chinese ambassador to Tehran, during which Iran expressed its "strong dissatisfaction and protested against China's involvement in the issue of Iran's territorial integrity."

Responding to this objection, China will be sending the Chinese Deputy Prime Minister for a visit to Iran this week perhaps to address what Iran sees as "mistake made by the Chinese president in Riyadh."





Friday, November 04, 2022

Biden: "We Will Free Iran"; Raisi: "Mr. President! Iran was liberated 43 years ago, and it’s determined to never become a milk cow."

    Friday, November 04, 2022   No comments

On Thursday, US President Joe Biden vowed to "liberate" Iran.

On Friday, a White House spokesman flet the need to clarify: President Joe Biden was expressing his solidarity with protesters in Iran by telling a crowd of his supporters, "We will liberate Iran."

White House national security spokesman John Kirby made the remarks to reporters a day after Biden made his comment at a rally in California.

On Friday, too, Iran's president said that the country had been freed by the 1979 Islamic revolution in response to a vow by US president Joe Biden to "free Iran". Ebrahim Raisi said: “Maybe he said this because of a lack of concentration...He said we aim to liberate Iran," 

“Mr. President! Iran was liberated 43 years ago, and it’s determined not to become your captive again. We will never become a milk cow.”


   


Thursday, July 14, 2022

Iran's President, Raisi: Iran's positions on the nuclear deal are right, and we will not retreat from them

    Thursday, July 14, 2022   No comments

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi stressed that "the Islamic Republic of Iran will not retreat from its logical and correct positions" in the negotiations to revive the nuclear deal.


Raisi said, in his speech on Wednesday, "We recommend the Americans to adopt a realistic view, and to draw lessons from the past, instead of repeating the failed experiment of the policy of maximum pressure on the Iranian people."


The Iranian president added, during a cabinet meeting, that "those who violated the nuclear agreement should be vigilant and not think of repeating previous wrong experiences," noting that "the Islamic Republic of Iran did not present any demands outside the framework of the nuclear agreement, and practiced a rational approach in the negotiations."


Raisi reiterated that Iran's positions are "right and logical, and we will not retreat from them, and no party has the right to address us with the language of force," adding: "We recommend Washington to take a realistic view instead of repeating the failed experiment of the policy of maximum pressure," which it knew mainly during the rule of former President Donald Trump.


Raisi continued, "The Americans say that Iran must return to the nuclear agreement, while they are the ones who withdrew from it and violated their obligations, not us," referring to the "unjust US embargo imposed on the Iranian people."


"The United States has repeatedly declared that the pressure it is imposing on the Iranian people is unprecedented, but the Iranian Foreign Ministry has officially confirmed that these pressures have failed shamefully," he said.


Raisi noted, "The Americans must have realized over the past 43 years that they cannot speak to the Iranian people with the language of force, but they continue this approach, which will certainly not bring them any results."


Referring to the visit of the US President and other officials to the region, Raisi stressed that "if these visits aim to strengthen the position of the Zionist entity and normalize its relations with some countries, then Washington must know that its efforts in the region will not achieve security for the Zionist entity."


Addressing the US administration, Raisi said: "If you want to know the impact of your movements in the region, then look at the attitude of its peoples toward the Zionist entity, for the hatred against the Zionists and their crimes has increased in the hearts of the peoples of the region."


Raisi stressed that Iran "is closely monitoring developments in the region, and we will not lose sight of any movement in it," saying, "We have repeatedly told the Americans that we will respond firmly to the slightest move that affects Iran's territorial integrity."

Tehran denies selling drones to Moscow

In related news, on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian affirmed that his country "rejects America's allegations regarding Iran's sale of hundreds of drones to Russia."

In an interview with the Italian newspaper "La Repubblica", Amir Abdollahian added: "We have various types of cooperation with Russia, including defense cooperation, but we do not provide support to both conflicting parties, because we affirm the necessity of stopping the war, and we are working on that."


The Iranian foreign minister stressed that "Tehran is making efforts to stop the Ukrainian war," noting that "the problem lies elsewhere, as some Western countries, especially America, manufacture weapons and are trying to sell them."


Yesterday, Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Nasser Kanaani, said that "the record of cooperation between Iran and the Russian Federation, in the field of modern technologies, dates back to the period before the Ukrainian war," noting that "no remarkable development occurred in this regard, during Recently".


"These allegations by US officials came at a time when America and Europe turned the occupying and aggressor countries, including in West Asia, into stockpiles of deadly weapons," the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Russia: The Iranian rallies deal with Russia is misleading the American media

In turn, the Russian Foreign Ministry commented on the matter, stressing that "the Iranian rallies deal to Russia is a US media misinformation that accompanies President Joe Biden's tour in the Middle East."


"This kind of disinformation by Washington has become commonplace," a State Department source said. "It's yet another baffling and ridiculous statement by a high-ranking American representative, but we're leaving it to Jake Sullivan (National Security Adviser)."


According to the source, "this statement was apparently timed to coincide with Biden's Middle East tour scheduled for July 13-16."


He noted that this disinformation "is aimed at further heating up anti-Iranian sentiment in Arab countries, through the deliberate dissemination of misinformation about cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran in the sensitive military-technical field."


The source added, "Although the official representative of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Kanaani, actually refuted this misinformation, it must be noted that the media event itself was chosen in vain, and that Jake Sullivan's logic is not convincing, and completely devoid of logic."


Moreover, the transfer of a large number of highly efficient Iranian-made drones to the Ukrainian theater of operations far from the Middle East, would significantly reduce the risks of their use directly in the region, and could not raise the concerns of the Arab countries.


And the US National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, had said, earlier, that his country had information that “Iran is preparing to supply Russia with hundreds of drones,” and “train Russian soldiers to use them in the Ukrainian war,” claiming that “Iran will begin this in current month".




Tuesday, July 05, 2022

President Tebboune receives President Abbas and Haniyeh in a meeting on the sidelines of Algeria's Independence Day Celebrations

    Tuesday, July 05, 2022   No comments

On Tuesday evening, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune held a meeting that brought together Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with a delegation from the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), led by the head of its political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh.

According to the official Algerian television, the meeting was held at the Conference Palace, west of the capital, Algiers, on the sidelines of the participation of the Palestinian delegation in the celebrations of the sixtieth anniversary of the country's independence from France on July 5, 1962.

In addition to Abbas and Haniyeh, Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Omar, Palestinian intelligence chief Majed Faraj, Palestine Chief Justice Muhammad al-Habbash and Hamas leader Sami Abu Zuhri participated in the meeting.

The television broadcast scenes in which Abbas, Haniyeh and the rest of the leaders appear in one session, with President Tebboune in the middle.

Algerian television did not report the content of the meeting, which it described as “historic.”


Abbas visited Algeria in December 2021, and the two sides announced at the time an agreement for Algeria to host a conference for Palestinian reconciliation that precedes the Arab summit.







Friday, November 05, 2021

Saudi Arabia: The Hariri and Khashoggi files are an example of media failure

    Friday, November 05, 2021   No comments

 

Exactly four years ago, Saad Hariri spent his first night in detention in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, by order of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The latter was in the process of carrying out a coup in Lebanon, re-shuffling the cards in the Levant. After this coup failed inside Lebanon, Western and Arab countries intervened to rescue Hariri from captivity and return him to Beirut.

Bin Salman did not preach, and repeated the crime a year later, in his country's consulate in Istanbul, where Jamal Khashoggi was murdered. No one in the world objected to what the Rising Prince had done within the confines of his kingdom. But the two crimes of kidnapping Hariri and killing Khashoggi left him in more embarrassment than the aggression on Yemen. The crime that a besieged people has been subjected to, continuously for more than six years, is being waged by Ibn Salman with full Western support, breached from time to time by slight criticism from American or European officials, while they leave their official positions, or when they want to blackmail the milking cow in Riyadh.

Hariri's kidnapping crime was the basis. The Saudi crown prince did not pay for it, which encouraged him to commit others. Khashoggi's murder may have been a direct result of bin Salman's impunity after he kidnapped the prime minister of a supposedly sovereign country in the twenty-first century. It can also be concluded that the failure to hold him accountable, even verbally, for his actions on November 4, 2017, made him dare to repeat the coup attempt in Jordan, where he could not invoke confronting the non-existent Iranian influence, nor fighting Hezbollah and its arsenal. Today, it is opening a new chapter of recklessness in Lebanon, by punishing it and seeking to bring about political change in it, through blackmail and threats, under the pretext of statements made by a media person who happened to become, after that, the Minister of Information. George Kordahi's case is also based on the passing of the crime that took place four years ago, without any blame. The former Lebanese prime minister acted like a Saudi citizen, seeking the consent of the guardian, by all possible means. But the problem was that official Lebanon had also given up its right. Despite the passage of four years since bin Salman’s aggression, the authority agreed to be in the position of the accused, not the accused, which prompted the Saudi regime to carry out more attacks on the “younger brother”: the Lebanese security services help their Saudi counterparts in the fight against drugs, so the reward is penalties in the commercial field . (Former) Foreign Minister Charbel Wahba makes a verbal mistake against Saudi Arabia, so he is forced to resign. George Qardahi says a word of truth about the criminal war on Yemen, so Ibn Salman decides to punish the whole of Lebanon.

The problem is not so much with the emir's recklessness as it is with the authority that has made Lebanon a country "with low walls". The strong performance of that authority in November 2017, which eventually led to the release of the prime minister, was quickly wasted in the following days. The crime of kidnapping Hariri, humiliating him and forcing him to resign, was an occasion to correct part of the distortion in the dysfunctional relationship between the Saudi regime and Lebanon. The latter was not required to wage war, but rather his duty was to manage the post-crisis phase in a manner that preserves the country's rights and dignity, and deters Ibn Salman from repeating his crime. Leaving him in this way, he turned the crime of kidnapping the prime minister, as was the killing of Khashoggi later, into a public relations problem that Ibn Salman addresses by spending some money on image-improving companies, and encouraging him to make Lebanon a servile country that obeys his orders. As usual, official Lebanon is looking for a way to acquiesce again, ignoring that whoever kidnapped a prime minister one day, without anyone questioning him, will repeat it in the coming days. This is the conclusion that Najib Mikati should be aware of today, while he is talking about “predominantly the national interest.” Achieving this “interest” by conceding to bin Salman again and again means placing the neck of the concessioner between two future options: slapping and kicking at the Ritz-Carlton, or sawing off in a consulate.

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Source: Alakhbar


Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Two competing stories about the US-Iranian armed forces confrontation in Sea of Oman

    Wednesday, November 03, 2021   No comments

 On November 3, 2011, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards boarded a tanker carrying oil in the Sea of Oman. US forces in the area tried to recover the tanker, prompting confrontation between the two forces. The tanker was ultimately directed to Iranian territorial waters, US forces withdrew. Some media outlets explained that the second tanker was carrying Iranian oil, which was transferred from an Iranian tanker. This was the preliminary report.

A second report published by a telegram account connected with the Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps provide a different account. This report claims that sometime ago, US forces intercepted an Iranian tanker loaded with Iranian oil on its way to Venezuela. US forces boarded that tanker, transferred its content to a second tanker and let the crew of the Iranian tanker go. The Crew reported to Iranian authorities what happened and described the tanker used by US forces. Days ago, Iranian auth
orities identified the same tanker used by US forces in this earlier incident in the area and continued to monitor it. When the tanker was loaded with oil from some country in the region and started its journey out of the Gulf, it was intercepted by Iran’s revolutionary guards corps in the Sea of Oman and directed it to Iranian territorial waters while US tried several attempts to rescue the tanker, but failed.

As of this writing, no official statement was issued by US and Iran governments. It is likely that now the tanker is in Iranian waters, an official statement will be released by the Iranian authorities.

It should be noted however that the second report is the more likely the factual one when cross-referencing other events. US authorities under the Trump administration have already disclosed that US forces intercepted Iranian shipments of oil to Venezuela, seized the oil, and sold it. This event might be the payback for that event.

Developing Story: Iran says thwarts US attempt to 'steal' oil in Oman Sea

Monday, July 31, 2017

Hezbollah takes journalists in Lebanon on a tour to prove Trump wrong

    Monday, July 31, 2017   No comments
...
On Saturday, Hezbollah took a party of journalists on a tour that helped explain, trumpeting the results of the militia’s recent fight against Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate in barren mountains near the northeastern Lebanese town of Arsal.

The arduous trek into the rocky terrain underscored the sway the Iran-backed Hezbollah exerts in Lebanon, where it remains the most effective and best-armed military force and retains the ability to strike at will almost anywhere in the country.

It also illuminated the complexity of the political and military landscape in Lebanon — a U.S. ally, whose government includes Hezbollah, which is in turn branded a terrorist organization by Washington. Whether the Trump administration can navigate the pitfalls of this complexity may determine if this tiny, relatively calm country can continue to escape the turmoil raging elsewhere in the Middle East.

Trump’s comment was made alongside Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who was on a visit to the United States to seek U.S. support. “Lebanon is on the front lines in the fight against ISIS, al-Qaeda and Hezbollah,” Trump said, without apparently realizing that Hariri struck an alliance with Hezbollah late last year to secure his appointment as prime minister.

The comment coincided with the conclusion of a two-week offensive by Hezbollah in the Arsal area that drove out scores of al-Qaeda-affiliated fighters belonging to the group known as Jabhat al-Nusra, as well as well as several hundred former Free Syrian Army rebels — whose allies until recently had received support from the United States.

Hezbollah officials said they took journalists on the tour to demonstrate that Hezbollah, not the United States, is the one doing most of the fighting against terrorism.

“The current American president is ignorant of the region,” said Hezbollah spokesman Mohammed Afif, speaking to reporters in a cave until recently occupied by Nusra. “We are the force that fights terrorism while the United States continues to support terrorism in many forms.”

Guided by a vanguard of Hezbollah officials in black-windowed armored vehicles, a convoy comprising over 40 journalists’ four-wheel-drive vehicles set out Saturday from the nearby Bekaa Valley and trundled slowly up a rocky mountain into the area where the battles took place... source
  

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Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Turkish parliament approves bill to deploy troops in Qatar

    Wednesday, June 07, 2017   No comments
Turkey's parliament on June 7 approved a draft bill allowing its troops to be deployed to a Turkish military base in Qatar.

The move appears to support the Gulf Arab country as it faces diplomatic and trade isolation from some of the biggest Middle Eastern powers.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain severed relations with Qatar and closed their airspace to commercial flights on Monday, charging it with financing militant groups.

Qatar vehemently denies the accusations. It is the worst split between powerful Arab states in decades.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has criticized the Arab states' move, saying isolating Qatar and imposing sanctions will not resolve any problems and adding that Ankara will do everything in its power to help end the crisis.
source

Friday, April 28, 2017

Trump: Saudi Arabia must pay for US protection... Saudi Arabia has not treated us fairly

    Friday, April 28, 2017   No comments
Pro-regime propaganda in Saudi Arabia
President Donald Trump complained on Thursday that U.S. ally Saudi Arabia was not treating the United States fairly and Washington was losing a “tremendous amount of money” defending the kingdom.

In an interview with Reuters, Trump confirmed his administration was in talks about possible visits to Saudi Arabia and Israel in the second half of May. He is due to make his first trip abroad as president for a May 25 NATO summit in Brussels and could add other stops.

"Frankly, Saudi Arabia has not treated us fairly, because we are losing a tremendous amount of money in defending Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Trump’s criticism of Riyadh was a return to his 2016 election campaign rhetoric when he accused the kingdom of not pulling its weight in paying for the U.S. security umbrella.

"Nobody’s going to mess with Saudi Arabia because we’re watching them," Trump told a campaign rally in Wisconsin a year ago. “They’re not paying us a fair price. We’re losing our shirt.”  source

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Who killed 150 to 250 ISIS fighters and destroyed their vehicles near Fallujah?

    Thursday, June 30, 2016   No comments

It seems that the different players in the fight against ISIL are now competing for credit.

On Wednesday, Iraqi military released footage showing destroyed cars and trucks. Military officials claimed that the raid was carried out by Iraqi pilots who were using Russian made helicopters. It should be noted that it was reported that "Iraq has received their final batch of Russian Mi-28 NE Night Hunter military helicopters". The attack footage indicated that these helicopters were used. NBC News reported the same story.

Reuters, on the other hand, reported the following:

U.S.-led coalition aircraft waged a series of deadly strikes against Islamic State around the city of Falluja on Wednesday, U.S. officials told Reuters, with one citing a preliminary estimate of at least 250 suspected fighters killed and at least 40 vehicles destroyed.

Iraqi officials indicated that U.S. refused to assist with the attack they took credit for. These conflicting reports show that the U.S. led anti-ISIL coalition is not as unified behind the mission as they claim.

Video footage of the attack, one of the attacks, or something like that:


Meanwhile, more American weapons fell in the hands of ISIS when another so-called "moderate" Syrian rebel group attempted to push out ISIS from a town near the Iraqi border. According to reports, 40 of the rebel were killed and 15 taken prisoners by ISIS.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the group's offensive against ISIS was being mounted with the backing of Western special forces and US-led air strikes.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Biden: How can Israel be democratic and Jewish at the same time

    Tuesday, April 19, 2016   No comments
BBC: How can Israel be democratic and Jewish at the same time
Joe Biden voiced his 'overwhelming frustration' with Israel's government which he said is leading the country in the wrong direction, in an unusually sharp rebuke of America's closest ally in the Middle East.

The Vice President, in a speech yesterday to the pro-Israel, pro-peace advocacy group J Street, offered a grim outlook for peace efforts between Israel and Palestine, reflecting dim hopes for progress during the remainder of the Obama administration.

Although he said Israelis and Palestinians shared blame for undermining trust and shirking responsibility, he criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, suggesting his approach raised 'profound questions' about how Israel could remain both Jewish and democratic.

'I firmly believe that the actions that Israel's government has taken over the past several years - the steady and systematic expansion of settlements, the legalization of outposts, land seizures - they're moving us and more importantly they're moving Israel in the wrong direction,' Biden said.

He said those policies were moving Israel toward a 'one-state reality' - meaning a single state for Palestinians and Israelis in which eventually, Israeli Jews will no longer be the majority.

'That reality is dangerous,' Biden added.


'There is at the moment no political will that I observed from either Israelis or Palestinians to go forward with serious negotiations,' Biden said. source

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Showing the growing strategic difference with the US and converging interests with Saudi Arabia: Israeli DM declares that he prefers ISIS to Iran

    Wednesday, January 20, 2016   No comments
Evidence is mounting that the Middle East is entering a new era. Days after the Iran Deal, which mainly ended the US-Iran nuclear dispute, Israeli leaders are now taking public steps to align themselves with Saudi Arabia and the groups that country supports and distancing itself from the U.S. 
Speaking today at a security conference in Tel Aviv, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon declared that he “prefers ISIS” over Iran, and does not consider ISIS to pose a serious threat to the Israeli state, saying Iran will always remain “the main enemy.”

Ya’alon insisted that he believes ISIS will be defeated at any rate, what with the US launching strikes on their oil supplies, but that he’d much rather see ISIS rule all of Syria, and consequently be directly on Israel’s border, than have the pro-Iran government remain in power.


Ya’alon’s declaration was a lot more public than most, but not really outside of long-standing Israeli policy, and the defense minister laid out a similar argument around the notion of an apocalyptic “clash of civilizations” between Israel and the Shi’ite world, believing that the Sunnis, like ISIS, are practically on their side.

Not that ISIS sees it that way. While they’ve been more focused on attacking Shi’ites than attacking Israel so far, they’ve made multiple statements about their plans to expand into Palestine and fight against Israeli forces. Israel’s military chief warned only yesterday that ISIS may soon turn its focus to attacking Israel and Jordan.

source: www.ynetnews.com

Monday, January 18, 2016

Why Al Jazeera America Was Destined to Fail

    Monday, January 18, 2016   No comments
Al Jazeera America never had a chance. Having struggled in vain to attract an audience since it launched in 2013, the cable news channel announced Wednesday that it would shut down come April. “The decision is driven by the fact that our business model is simply not sustainable in an increasingly digital world, and because of the current global financial challenges,” CEO Al Anstey said in a staff memo, thereby glossing over all of the operation's actual failures.


Maybe you liked Al Jazeera America's news coverage. More likely, you never watched it. After spending $500 million to buy Al Gore's Current TV and put itself in about 40 million homes, the channel reached a piddly 28,000 prime-time viewers in 2015. CNN, by comparison, reaches around 700,000. That is not the sort of gap you can simply ascribe to a secular decline in cable audiences as people spend more time online. Some of the trouble undoubtedly boiled down to its name. Many Americans were never going to watch a channel created by Al Jazeera, the media network owned by the Qatari government with a reputation (fair or not) for being a smidgen hostile to the U.S.


But if Al Jazeera America's brand was a handicap, its philosophy was a death sentence. The channel was founded on the utterly ill-conceived idea that Americans were starving for sober, “unbiased” hard news coverage. In other words, it made the mistake of offering viewers the programming they claimed to want, instead of the programming that all available evidence suggests they actually enjoy. Speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival in 2013, the channel's first CEO, Ehab Al Shihabi, said market research suggested that there were 40 million or 50 million Americans yearning for deep, old-school reportage.  “If we do the kind of reporting that is considered ‘back to the future’—the hard-core journalistic reporting, not biased, not for entertainment, but fact-based—do we have a place? All the research indicates yes,” Al Shihabi later told the Nation. source

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Mohammed bin Salman is the most dangerous man in the world: aggressive and ambitious

    Saturday, January 09, 2016   No comments
When Mohammed bin Salman was just 12 he began sitting in on meetings led by his father Salman, the then governor of Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh Province. Some 17 years later, at 29 and already the world’s youngest defence minister, he plunged his country into a brutal war in Yemen with no end in sight.

Now the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is jousting dangerously with its regional foe Iran, led by a man seemingly in a big hurry to become the Middle East’s most powerful leader.

Prince Mohammed was still in his early teens when he began trading in shares and property. And when he ran into a scrape or two, his father was able to take care of things. Unlike his older half-brothers, MbS, as he is known, did not go abroad to university, choosing to remain in Riyadh where he attended King Saud University, graduating in law. Associates considered him an earnest young man who neither smoked nor drank and had no interest in partying.

In 2011, his father became deputy Crown Prince and secured the prized Ministry of Defence, with its vast budget and lucrative weapons contracts. MbS, as a private adviser, ran the royal court with a decisive hand after his father was named Crown Prince in 2012.

Every step of the way, Prince Mohammed has been with his father , who took his favoured son with him as he rose in the hierarchy of the House of Saud. Within the Saudi religious and business elite it was well understood that if you wanted to see the father you had to go through the son.

Critics claim he has amassed a vast fortune, but it is power, not money, that drives the prince. When Salman ascended the Saudi throne in January 2015, he was already ailing and relying heavily on his son. Aged 79, the King is reported to be suffering from dementia and able to concentrate for only a few hours in a day. As his father’s gatekeeper, MbS is the real power in the kingdom.

That power was dramatically increased in the first few months of Salman’s rule. Prince Mohammed was appointed Defence Minister; put in charge of Aramco, the national energy company; made the head of a powerful new body, the Council for Economic and Development Affairs with oversight over every ministry; and put in charge of the kingdom’s public investment fund. He was named deputy Crown Prince but ensured ascendancy over his rival Mohammed bin Nayef, the Crown Prince and Interior Minister, by absorbing the latter’s royal court into that of the King’s.

Impatient with bureaucracy, MbS has been quick to make his mark by demanding that ministries define and deliver key performance indicators on a monthly basis, unheard of in a sclerotic economic system defined by patronage, crony capitalism and corruption. His sudden early morning visits to ministries demanding to see the books is rapidly becoming the stuff of legend, startling sleepy Riyadh into action and capturing the admiration of young Saudis. “He is very popular with the youth. He works hard, he has a plan for economic reform and he is open to them. He understands them,” enthused one businessman.

That counts, because 70 per cent of the Saudi population is under 30 and youth unemployment is running high, with some estimates putting it at between 20 and 25 per cent.

But the same zeal with which he is pursuing economic reforms has also led Saudi Arabia into a messy war in neighbouring Yemen. Last March, he launched an aerial campaign against rebel Houthi forces that had run the Saudi-installed President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi out of the country. Decades of Saudi caution were thrown to the wind as MbS presided over Operation Decisive Storm.  source

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The United Arab Emirates has secretly dispatched hundreds of Colombian mercenaries to Yemen to fight in that country’s raging conflict

    Thursday, November 26, 2015   No comments
The United Arab Emirates has secretly dispatched hundreds of Colombian mercenaries to Yemen to fight in that country’s raging conflict, adding a volatile new element in a complex proxy war that has drawn in the United States and Iran.

It is the first combat deployment for a foreign army that the Emirates has quietly built in the desert over the past five years, according to several people currently or formerly involved with the project. The program was once managed by a private company connected to Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater Worldwide, but the people involved in the effort said that his role ended several years ago and that it has since been run by the Emirati military.

The arrival in Yemen of 450 Latin American troops — among them are also Panamanian, Salvadoran and Chilean soldiers — adds to the chaotic stew of government armies, armed tribes, terrorist networks and Yemeni militias currently at war in the country. Earlier this year, a coalition of countries led by Saudi Arabia, including the United States, began a military campaign in Yemen against Houthi rebels who have pushed the Yemeni government out of the capital, Sana. source

Monday, September 07, 2015

GCC nations will continue to drop bombs "until [they] purge Yemen of the scum"... Qatar sends 1,000 ground troops to Yemen

    Monday, September 07, 2015   No comments

“Our revenge shall not take long,” Emirati media quoted Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed as warning. “We will press ahead until we purge Yemen of the scum."

 Delivering on a promise to quickly avenge their heaviest ever military loss, UAE jets have pounded Houthi positions in Yemen, hitting many civilians, in the “most violent” air raid since the Saudi-led bombardment campaign began six months ago.

The airstrikes in Yemen on Sunday were the heaviest since the Arab coalition intervened in the Yemeni conflict to reinstate power of their allied President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi who had been deposed by Houthi rebels.


The heavy air raids by the United Arab Emirates jets on Houthi positions in Yemen coincided with the funeral of the 45 UAE soldiers who were killed in Houthi rocket attack on Friday. The incident, in which 10 Saudis and five Bahrainis servicemen also lost their lives, became the deadliest day for the coalition forces, and UAE’s own military history.




Thursday, July 16, 2015

Israel Assassinated Senior Syrian Official

    Thursday, July 16, 2015   No comments
On Aug. 1, 2008, a small team of Israeli commandos entered the waters near Tartus, Syria, and shot and killed a Syrian general as he was holding a dinner party at his seaside weekend home. Muhammad Suleiman, a top aide to the Syrian president, was shot in the head and neck, and the Israeli military team escaped by sea.

While Israel has never spoken about its involvement, secret U.S. intelligence files confirm that Israeli special operations forces assassinated the general while he vacationed at his luxury villa on the Syrian coast.

The internal National Security Agency document, provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, is the first official confirmation that the assassination of Suleiman was an Israeli military operation, and ends speculation that an internal dispute within the Syrian government led to his death.

A top-secret entry in the NSA’s internal version of Wikipedia, called Intellipedia, described the assassination by “Israeli naval commandos” near the port town of Tartus as the “first known instance of Israel targeting a legitimate government official.” The details of the assassination were included in a “Manhunting Timeline” within the NSA’s intelligence repository.

According to three former U.S. intelligence officers with extensive experience in the Middle East, the document’s classification markings indicate that the NSA learned of the assassination through surveillance. The officials asked that they not be identified, because they were discussing classified information.

The information in the document is labeled “SI,” which means that the intelligence was collected by monitoring communications signals. “We’ve had access to Israeli military communications for some time,” said one of the former U.S. intelligence officers.

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Monday, July 06, 2015

Relentless Terror: The Everyday Horrors of the Islamic State... and ... The Allure of the Islamic State: Money and Status Attract Fighters

    Monday, July 06, 2015   No comments
 Relentless Terror: The Everyday Horrors of the Islamic State
In late June, images made their way around the world of four men as they were locked in a car and killed with a rocket-propelled grenade. They showed seven men, chained together with explosive necklaces, as they were blown up. And they provided evidence that five men had been locked in a metal cage and lowered into the water to drown. As we learned last week, 16 men in total were murdered in these brutal ways. We know this because the executioners with the group calling itself "Islamic State" wanted to film their victims as they were dying.

The films, carefully staged and distributed using all modern channels, seem to be coming directly from hell. The men who see themselves as the new caliphs are performing an unparalleled dance of death, complete with the kinds of horrors once depicted by painter Hieronymus Bosch -- only these killers and executioners are anything but fiction. In Syria and along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in Iraq today, where human civilization once began, it is not some nightmarish fictional characters at work, but real players in contemporary history with a megalomaniacal agenda. And instead of covering up their murders, they are doing the opposite -- inviting the rest of the world to look on, proud of a brutality that knows no bounds and is both part of their military strategy and an instrument of oppression.

The Islamic State is both fact and fiction at the same time. It has clearly created a propaganda bubble, but it also represents a new social order in places where it has come into power. The "caliphate" was proclaimed about a year ago, and the older group ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) has become IS, often referred to as Da'ish in the Arab world. But all of these names refer to the same thing: a militant movement with its origins partly in the Iraqi prison camps run by the Americans, which grew into al-Qaida in Iraq and now, as IS, is claiming territory for a new state, territory captured by former top figures in the regime of dictator Saddam Hussein.

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 The Allure of the Islamic State: Money and Status Attract Fighters

The prisoner enters the room with his eyes blind-folded, with stiff and uncertain steps. He's shaking and doesn't seem to know where he is, why he is here or what is happening to him. The guard leading him directs the man to one of eight stools. A second uniformed man stands in the room. He's the head of security at this high-security prison in Erbil, with simultaneous responsibility for the anti-terror unit. He doesn't want to reveal his name for security reasons.

"In this prison, we observe the rules of the United Nations Human Rights Conventions," he says, unsolicited. "There's no torture. We treat our prisoners well."

The prisoner on the other side of the table is said to be an emir, an officer in the army of the "Islamic State" captured during fighting near the city of Tal Afar. His name: Mohammed Ibrahim, born in 1985, a professional mason, a football fan and, since July of last year, a soldier serving the Islamic State. He disputes being an emir. He claims to have been a simple soldier, one who had been on watch duty and hid himself in a trench during the Allied air strikes. He had been captured there by Peshmerga fighters.

Ibrahim has a wife and three kids. He says he took up the call to arms because two of his brothers were killed in 2004 and 2006, after going to war to fight for al-Qaida. He had been feeling the pain of that loss for years. Although the deaths of his brothers may have been a motive for Ibrahim, a second, also plausible one, was opportunism. Why else would it have taken him years after the deaths of his brothers to team up with the Islamic State's forces? Why had he only just now entered into battle?

One possible answer is that, following IS' capture of Mosul one month before, when the Iraqi army led with the arrival of a few thousand fighters in pickup trucks, he wanted to endear himself to the future leaders in Iraq.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Current Turkish government faces internal and external challenges as a consequence of its foreign policy miscalculations

    Monday, June 29, 2015   No comments
 Army asks gov’t to work out political and diplomatic avenues before Syria incursion

The Turkish military has reportedly asked the government to lay the diplomatic groundwork to facilitate its pending operation along the Syrian border to neutralize emerging security threats posed by the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) as well as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Several Turkish dailies have reported over the weekend that the military was already given orders to take measures, including an incursion in Syria, to stem possible advances by ISIL or the PYD and prevent the change in demographic composition of the Syrian provinces near the Turkish border. Although the military in principle said it will comply with the order by the government and fulfill the task, it asked the government to work with the US, Russia and Iran in order to coordinate diplomatically and reduce the likelihood of further complications.



The Cumhuriyet daily on Sunday said military planning is currently under way and did not include the mobilization of tactical units for an incursion into Syria. It said the operation will take place in an area of some 100 kilometers along the border, possibly 20-30 kilometers deep into Syrian territory. Such an offensive requires corps-level deployment, as the troops in the border areas are not equipped to handle this operation. Mechanized and armored units will also need to be dispatched to support the operation. The daily said no such mobilization has taken place yet, indicating that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) is only involved in the operation planning stage for now.

Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) is strongly opposed to Turkey's involvement in Syria. Gürsel Tekin, the deputy chairman of the CHP, said, “Turkey should never be a part of a dirty war in Syria.” Accusing the government of supporting ISIL, Tekin said it is not clear which group Turkey would be interfering with in a military operation. Instead of engaging in Syria militarily, Tekin asked the government to work with the UN to find a political solution to the conflict.

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Turkish move into Syria would destroy peace capability: Iran

Any violation of a U.N. member country’s territorial integrity would destroy Turkey’s capacity to maintain peace and stability in Syria, Iran’s ambassador to Turkey, Ali Reza Bikdeli, said elaborating on media reports that Ankara is mulling military intervention into the neighboring country.

Asked about reports that Turkey aims to intervene in the Syrian town of Jarabulus, the Iranian ambassador said Turkey refuted these claims earlier.

“This issue came up several times. And, at the time, Turkey’s official authorities refuted these allegations,” the ambassador said late June 26, speaking to members of the Diplomacy Correspondents’ Association.

Underlining that Turkey has a major capacity to maintain peace and stability in Syria, “violating the territorial integrity of a U.N. member country would destroy all these capacities. We hope Turkey and Iran will jointly use their capacities to achieve peace and stability,” Bikdeli stated.

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Turkey mulls bombing ISIL without sending troops to Syria

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) are not keen on sending forces into Syria in the near future unless its units are targeted despite a government directive encouraging an intervention, daily Hürriyet has learned, amid reports that the army is considering bombing the extremists from Turkey instead.

Having strongly indicated its reluctance to lend support to the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the TSK is inclined to engage in a bombing campaign against the front line of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and provide logistical support to the FSA only after the new parliament makes its stance clear.

Options for the TSK before the parliament elects its speaker and a new government is formed are limited to intensifying security measures at the border, upgrading the military presence near the border, increasing intelligence activity in the region and keeping units on full alert in line within the framework of the rules of engagement which are designed to treat any military approach from Syria as a threat, according to sources.

Arguments of civilian and military authorities

According to sources, the president’s office, the government, the Foreign Ministry and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) want the TSK to support the Syrian forces fighting the central government in a fashion similar to the support given by the United States to Syria’s Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Kobane and Tal Abyad so as to prevent ISIL from gaining Azaz and Marea, which are close to the Turkish border and the scene of intense clashes.

In this context, hitting ISIL’s frontline with long-range artillery deployed on Turkish territory or with aerial attacks, while also lending arms and ammunition support to opposing rebel forces, are expected. The TSK is also said to believe that because such a step would target ISIL, it would be welcomed by the U.S.-led international coalition.

Deploying Turkish soldiers into Syria is not among the steps expected to be taken by the TSK in the short term.

The seizure of the 90-kilometer-long front from Jarabulus to Azaz by rebel groups, not Kurdish groups, would also benefit Turkey, according to sources.

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Why does the ruling party in Turkey wants to intervene in Northern Syria now when ISIL is pushed away from its border by Kurdish fighters? It would seem that Turkish government sees Kurds as a bigger threat than Kurds.

US official: Kurdish gains to cut off ISIL supplies, personnel coming from Turkey

A senior US official has claimed that recent Kurdish gains in the area of the Turkish-Syrian border will help cut off supplies and personnel coming from Turkey to Raqqa, the de facto capital of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

US Deputy Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said at the Center for a New American Security on Friday that Syrian Kurdish forces in recent weeks have shown "dramatic gains" in Syria, supported by US-led air strikes. The US Army said on Saturday that it conducted four air strikes near Kobani, a town on the border with Turkey, and hit ISIL targets. On Friday, US-led air strikes near Kobani hit eight units of ISIL fighters as well as several vehicles, fighting positions and staging areas used by the militant group.

Blinken said there is now a long stretch of the border between Syria and Turkey that is actually controlled by Kurdish forces which are allied with other Syrians. On Saturday, the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia in Kobani said they drove out ISIL militants from the town who had made an incursion on Thursday with suicide bombers and killed at least 200 civilians in ensuing clashes. The attack on Kobani followed a week after Kurds secured the town of Tel-Abyad, also on the Turkish border. The town's capture effectively restricted ISIL's ability to smuggle arms and fighters through Turkey to Raqqa.

Blinken said the capture of border areas by Kurds is "critical," because "if you can get that piece all across the border, you cut off the supply lines between Daesh and supplies and personnel coming in primarily from Turkey and going to Raqqa, their capital." Daesh is the Arabic acronym of ISIL.

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

President Obama: Some Gulf States "fan the flames of military conflict" in Libya

    Saturday, April 18, 2015   No comments
President Obama said those nations had been seen to "fan the flames of military conflict" in the North African country.

Libya has been in turmoil since the removal of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

There are two rival governments and numerous militia controlling their own patches of territory.

Divisions have emerged among Gulf nations on Libya, with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reportedly bombing Islamist targets in Libya and Qatar expressing reservations about such operations.

But Mr Obama said the crisis in Libya, where Islamic State has built a presence, could not be ended with "a few drone strikes or a few military operations".

"We're going to have to encourage some of the countries inside of the Gulf who have, I think, influence over the various factions inside of Libya to be more cooperative themselves," Mr Obama told reporters.

"In some cases, you've seen them fan the flames of military conflict, rather than try to reduce them."


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